Smaller Connecticut egg farms benefit from nationwide shortage

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TOLLAND-- Trouble in the poultry industry and rising egg prices are actually working in favor of local farmers who produce eggs.

The effects of Avian flu that killed millions of chickens and turkeys nationwide have resulted in a severe shortage, and in the process doubled the average price of a dozen eggs.

"Eggs do cost more than $1.69 at the store, so when people come and buy eggs, they can realize we're closer to the store prices now," said Mike Grogan, owner of Autumn Oaks Farms in Tolland.

Grogan and his wife Michelle operate Autumn Oaks Farms, raising around 300 hens and chickens that produce around 100 eggs daily.

"In less than 24 hours we can produce eggs to put them on somebody's table," said Grogan.

The farm's egg output, not impacted by the avian outbreak, remains plentiful.  Unlike big box grocery stores, Autumn Oaks is keeping its egg prices steady, at $4.00/dozen.

"There's a demand - sometimes we will run out of eggs earlier in a farmer's market," Grogan said.

Christopher Joseph, the owner of Connecticut Farm to Table, a cooperative of small farms promoting organically produced food, says the nationwide egg shortage has helped smaller farms producing eggs in Connecticut.

"It's bringing the cost of eggs to a level playing field with the grocery stores," Joseph said.

Joseph says it typically costs more to produce eggs at smaller farms, and  local farmers he's spoken with are upping  prices by 50 cents per dozen.

"To a local farmer, 50 cents per dozen may mean doubling your profit margin, per a dozen of eggs," Joseph said.

Several local farms sell their products at CCC Feeds & Farm Supplies, a farmers cooperative based in Manchester.  The store sells farm supplies and locally produced food all season long.

Tracy Longaria, owner of CCC Feeds & Farms Supplies, said the farms haven't changed their resale prices and the demand for locally grown eggs has steadily increased.

"We've got a ton of loyal customers, who just buy from us because they know the quality of eggs," she said.